Monday, December 13, 2010

Why the Heck did Hanna get Married?

This is long and rambling. Read it if you wish.

There was a bit of surprise and disbelief going around when Tyler and I publicized that we'd decided to get a piece of paper signed and stamped by a justice of the peace that said the word 'married' on it. Tyler himself was surprised when I brought up the subject as an option, since he was used to thinking of it as something I would consent to do at some far distant future time, surprised, but kind of happy I think. I have been thinking about writing my reasoning, both pros and cons, here... for anyone who's curious.
1 - First of all, I will address the question only Robert was bold enough to ask. NO, not pregnant. As I told him, if I was pregnant I would have been making an appointment with planned parenthood, not the courthouse. This is true even now that I am married. My womb is a child-free zone.
2 - never wanted a wedding. The thought of throwing a wedding, even one as low-key as William and Natalie's wedding, made me feel queasy. I am not a crowd person. Once Isaac and Josh eloped, and John and Jackie started talking about how they had gotten hitched at the courthouse, I kind of realized that I didn't have to have the wedding, or the dress, or the expense, or the fuss and ridiculousness. This made getting married much easier to contemplate.
3 - it's what you make of it... this section might get a bit convoluted. I realized, years ago, that I was not comfortable with feminine stereotypes and gender roles. There were two options, both viable. I could decide that I was, therefore, not female and go in search of another word to describe myself; or I could decide that the gender dichotomy is stupid and I am what I am and I could like many aspects of my femaleness and feel free to change other things, to be exactly what I am and want to be and not what anyone tells me I am supposed to be. I chose the second option. I still refer to myself as female, that being the easiest and closest thing, but I tend to feel a bit separate from either of the commonly recognized genders. I am what I make of myself.
I kind of feel the same way about my relationship with Tyler. I know for some people getting married is a huge life-changing step, but it isn't for us, and that's a good thing. We have been together for eight years, we've had some rough patches, we've had many more fantastic patches, we love each other, and we are committed to this relationship. This isn't going to change because of a piece of paper.
3a - connotations. I don't like the word 'wife' even more than I didn't like the word 'fiance'. I am perfectly ok if others want to use it to describe themselves or their spouses, but don't throw it at me. I do not like the historical context of subservience and domesticity. The word comes with expectations of 'settling down' and 'starting a family', neither of which describes me at all. I would much rather be 'partner' than anything else. It has a feeling of equality to it absent in more traditional words, it is gender neutral (see above gender discussion) and has no archaic connotations. It was at college when I first found wonderful feminists using this word to describe their committed relationships, and I liked it right off the bat. Knowing that I don't have to use words I don't like and don't describe me makes the thought of getting married much more pleasant to contemplate, much more comfortable to live in.
4 - taxes. Seriously, if you go get a piece of paper signed by a justice of the peace they take less tax moneys away from you. SCORE! Also other organizations (employers, schools) are more likely to recognize your relationship and work harder to accommodate your partner. This is good.
5- equality. I feel strongly that all those in a consensual, committed, loving relationship who wish to be married should have the right to do so, not just those who happen to have been born heterosexual. For a long time I thought I would not get married until everyone could. Clearly I didn't wait. I feel bad about that.
6 - 'winning' vs my mother. Anyone who knows my mother knows this is an impossible task. I finally realized that getting her to recognize and accept Tyler and my relationship was never going to happen, and the only way I would ever 'win' was by outliving her... meaning that I would have to wait to get married to Tyler until we were in our 80's. This was not something I wanted to do. I still resent this, but not so much that it will be a problem, I think. I look forward to having Tyler and my relationship recognized for a change next time I visit.

Ok, imaginary folks who actually read this whole wall of text, I would love to hear from you. Agree? Disagree? Post a comment and we can talk. Debate is awesome.


  1. I swear I could hear your voice as I read this. I don't think you said anything bad at all. Your relationship is what you make it, and you have made a great one with Tyler. I think getting married to your 'partner' of eight years was the right choice at this point. All in all, I just want you, Tyler, and Poe to have a long happy life together. Do me a favor though...don't ever change your way of thinking, it's one of the reasons I lovers you so much, and I'm gonna miss the crap out of you. So you best stay in touch, and give me your address when you get one.
    ~Casie (the one and only)

  2. Me too! The whole time I was reading this I could hear her voice! ha ha :) Miss you lady! thanks for all the recipe and diet advice you have given me in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday morning lol! You are one FANTASTIC lady :)

  3. I think you underestimate your mother. Just sayin. As far as I have seen she has always loved and accepted tyler and only ever had good things to say about him. I know she didn't let you co-habitate at her house, but she is just doing her job of standing up for what SHE believes. She doesn't hate you just because you believe differently. I know she loves you both. And poe, actually. Tyler is a very nice, helpful, respectful, enjoyable sort of person. I hope you don't mind if I call him "brother-in-law" just for easiness sake.

  4. ps,I didn't find any green pants. Also, does he need more than one pair? Cause I only gave your mom one but I could get another if he needs.

  5. Hanna, I like reading your voice. It makes me happy that you and Tyler are happy and love and respect each other. Hoep to see you both soon.

  6. @ Casie: I'll try not to change the way I think (without turning into a dogmatic idiot), I've been quite happy this way for a long time. I miss you too, girl! I'll definitely let you know as soon as I'm settled!

    @ Katie: I didn't get to say goodbye to you! I missed you when you broke your arm and I didn't get to see you anymore, you made mornings fun (and funny)!

    @ Kim: I did not mean to imply that she didn't love me or him, just that I did not feel respected. I understand her reasons. I don't think either of us have a problem with being called 'in-law's'. Also one pair of pants is plenty, now that we're going to be staying at my parent's longer I'll have a chance to use my sewing machine to fix some of his others.

  7. i am going to stick with the story that you finoly craked under soshal preshers :) and i think you think threw things way to much. love you Hanna and Tyler and maby poe to congradulations

  8. Holy crap! Seriously, I feel like a trend setter! :) Congrats again! I know how you feel about the parents views on how your relationships should be not jiving with your relationships as you are having them. One of the reasons Josh and I eloped was to actually take away the parents ability to disapprove and say that they wouldn't be there... though in your case, it seems that marriage makes it okay, where marriage in our case kind of made it more sacrilegious. I guess where I'm going with this is we did it for ourselves, not anyone else, which it seems that was your guy's deal as well, if I'm understanding it. And that is kind of the important thing, as far as I see it. So hooray for private weddings! And hooray especially for yours!
    and it seems that I've ranted long enough!

  9. No one in this world loves you more or more unconditionally than your mother. You don’t need to set yourself up oppositional to her to “win.” There is great joy, satisfaction, and fun being a part of a mother-daughter team where “wins” are shared. Being on a team doesn’t mean everyone is a clone; rather you can be very different individuals working together and sharing your “wins.”

    Best wishes to you and Tyler for a lifetime of happiness together. When you cross the country are you going through Iowa and if so, do you have time to stop for a visit?

  10. I WIN ......I didnt even know I was trying..... Oh Hanna I love you so much . I do love Tyler also Dont I always send him my love when I talk to you? .I cant wait to see you . And I have never seen a more girlly girl than you were I had to force you to were pants, And stand up for yourselF . I also taught you to shot a gun work in a garden , made sure you could milk a cow and take care of a car . Altho I was never successful at that . Im sorry your Idea of woman hood is so limited . Look at Aunt Dana . She can fix anything and takes care of all her lands and properties herself. and what about Ilean , she is better at ranching and a macanic then most men we know . I for many years have brought home the bacon wail Papi was so sick. All of these are traits that I admire in Women I know . I dont much think about the husband wife thing . Papi and I are Helpmets.In otherwords equal.I wish you the best of luck in your marrage . Oh I cant wait to see you its been to long and I didnt get to talk to you the last few days.

  11. Congratulations on getting a tax break. :)

  12. Hey, so I was just thinking- I want to say congrats! And I love blogging because somehow it really does give you a chance to explain, people can respond and hopefully, effectively communicate! I just have a few thoughts- First, I think femininity is what you make of it, and the term "wife" to me is something that you also define yourself. When William calls me his wife, I know it's a term of endearment. It's something that no one else is to him and he says it with love- it's certainly not a put down. I suppose through history it may be that way with some, but any title could swing either way, it's all in how it's used. Also, as far as that husband-wife relationship goes, I think you likely heard and witnessed marriage defined as a partnership, "helpmeets" like mamita said, long before you ever got to college and decided you liked the term.
    I know I haven't been a part of the family for long, heck, I barely know you and have yet to meet Tyler (soon though)! But I think a lot of the world is caught up in thinking that "respect" is supposed to equal "accept". Now, there's a lot more I could say on the topic, it's not at all a new thought that's been mulling around in my mind, but I would think that if your parents were to simply "accept" something that they'd said they believed was wrong, it would show pretty weak characters and no kind of belief system that they had themselves. To be the strong kind of people that they are, to know what they believe also demands that they live up to it, otherwise it sure doesn't count for much. I've only heard good things about Tyler and believe your family respects and loves you, even if they don't accept and agree with you on every point. Respect and Accept. Certainly two different ideas that shouldn't be confused with one another.
    Anyway, there's my shpeel. Hope you guys are doing good and we'll see you soon!


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